China's manufacturing sector growth accelerated in September, according to official data.
The purchasing managers' index rose to 53.8, its highest level since May, up from 51.7 in August.
Forecasts had suggested the figure would be 52.
The survey of major companies is compiled for the national bureau of statistics, and a level above 50 indicates expansion.
The news comes despite government efforts to cool down the economy.
China's economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 10.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year, from 11.9 per cent in the first quarter.
The growth target for the year overall is eight per cent.